COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- On January 3, 2002, family,
friends, business associates, and community leaders gathered at a memorial
service to honor the legacy of William F. (Bill) Williams, President and co-
founder of Glory Foods, Inc. Williams died suddenly of a heart attack on
December 27 at the age of 57.
Williams was a highly respected businessman, community leader and
restaurateur in the Columbus, Ohio, area who parlayed his love and passion for
Southern foods to develop Glory Foods, Inc., a company that markets and
distributes conveniently prepared canned and fresh vegetables and frozen
family meals inspired by Southern recipes. In 1989, seasoned collard greens
in a can seemed unimaginable to many, but for co-founders Williams, Dan Charna
and Iris Cooper, it was an idea whose time had come. Today, Glory Foods
distributes a full-line of seasoned canned vegetables, frozen entrees and side
dishes to over 140 supermarket chains throughout the country. In the past
year, Williams and his staff were busy developing and introducing new
products, creating new packaging designs and introducing an in-house Fresh
Produce Division to market premium selections of Fresh-Cut, Washed and Ready-
to-Cook Packaged Greens and Fresh Cut, Washed and Ready-to Cook Packaged Sweet
Williams had the foresight to build a company that would withstand time,
and as Glory Foods approaches its 10-year anniversary in July 2002, the
company is strategically positioned to go forth with his vision. Williams
leaves Glory Foods well capitalized, financially stable and strategically
positioned for continued growth. "We are a company built on excellence and
constant attention to detail and perfection," said Dan Charna, co-founder.
"This is the foundation Bill Williams established early in the company and
continues to manifest and grow in all of us who must carry forth his vision.
We will continue to maintain the integrity and commitment he inspired in all
of us to work with communities and educational institutions to create a
stronger fabric for the growth and development of society. Bill leaves us a
legacy of excellent customer service and hard work. We will continue his
dream," adds Charna.
Bill Williams Leaves Lasting Legacy
Williams was a well-known and sought after expert on Southern cooking who
learned his trade early working at a local Columbus restaurant. The owner,
impressed by his interest in recipes and food preparation, became his mentor
and encouraged him to apply for admission to the Culinary Institute of America
in Hyde Park, New York, where he joined a select group of African-Americans
admitted to the school. When he graduated, he was a certified Chef. He later
obtained a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management from the
University of Massachusetts and worked for a number of hotel chains as a Food
and Beverage Manager.
In 1982, Williams and his wife Elizabeth opened the Marble Gang Restaurant
in Columbus and nurtured it into the premiere soul food eatery on the East
Side of Columbus. Williams sold the restaurant in 1997.
Williams was an entrepreneur who understood the importance of reaching
back so that others may move forward, and he leaves a legacy of outstanding
community service and educational achievement. Glory Foods' excellence in
fostering community and corporate partnerships earned the company the
prestigious Council on Economic Priorities, "Corporate Conscience Pioneer
Award for Community Partnerships" in 1998; the 1999 Social Compact "New Face
of Leadership Award," and, The Ron Brown Award for "Corporate Leadership" in
2000. Black Enterprise Magazine awarded Glory Foods the "Emerging Company of
the Year Award" in 1996 for excellence in niche marketing.
Williams' support of educational programs was largely attributed to
enhancing minority representation in the food and beverage industry. He was a
tireless advocate whose personal commitment manifested into scholarship awards
and partnerships with organizations and universities to encourage
participation and exposure. As co-chair of Ohio State University's College of
Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences he was committed to raising
$7 million in endowments for minority students seeking degrees in Agri-
business. He also helped to develop a Minority Produce Business Development
Program (MPBDP) in tandem with the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association
to provide developmental support and training for minority farmers. His
ongoing support of the black farming community opened up avenues for
groundbreaking discussions and programs that helped to strengthen the farmers'
presence and value in the food industry.
Bill Williams' legacy is one that will endure and continue to enhance the
quality of life for many.
Family members request that memorial gifts to Williams be made in the form
of contributions to the American Heart Association or the Kidney Foundation.
SOURCE Glory Foods, Inc.